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ABC World News With Diane Sawyer

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Abc 12, America 9, Us 8, Clinton 5, Bill Clinton 4, Kentucky 3, Angie 3, Asiana 3, Allison 3, Arizona 3, Diane 3, Byron Pitts 2, Pennsylvania 2, Byron 2, Chicago 2, Iraq 2, Hollywood 2, New York 2, Justin Minyard 2, Jan Brewer 2,
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  ABC    ABC World News With Diane Sawyer  

    February 25, 2014
    5:30 - 6:01pm PST  

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for watching we appreciate your time. see you again at 6:00. welcome to "world news." tonight, refreeze. a polar blast pressing south, rivers that had thawed now jammed with broken icebergs. and out west, the race to get sandbags in place ahead of floods and mud. coming home. our investigation. the epidemic of american veterans from iraq and afghanistan hooked on addictive painkillers. >> it is a living, seemingly never-ending nightmare. >> tonight, why is this happening? and will the news today change it? and, the sleep whisperer. a new and simple solution for a nation of insomniacs. is this woman -- >> hey, guys. >> -- about to change your life tonight?
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and a good evening to you on this tuesday night. we begin with the sights, sounds and struggles of a nation watching everything that had thawed freeze up again, as polar air plunges so far south, even texas will feel the freeze. while out west tonight, a race is under way to get the sandbags in place before heavy rain threatens to bring mudslides down on thousands of homes. and abc's meteorologist ginger zee is tracking the split personality weather for us tonight. >> reporter: parts of southern california laying out almost 150,000 sandbags. preparing for what could bring more rain in four days than they've had in the past year. >> mudslides are more of a potential, especially in areas where there has been fires. >> reporter: especially in places like glendora, california, home of that colby wildfire that gnawed away at nearly 2,000 acres of vegetation in january. >> we need the rain. >> well, i know, but not that much. >> yeah not that much at once. but we do need the rain.
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>> reporter: they need it to help dent that historic drought. but get this -- even if they get five inches of rain, they would need another 15 inches within a month to really see a rebound. rain will start wednesday, and the heaviest will come friday into saturday. in all, almost a half foot for some. meanwhile, the headline for many east of the rockies is cold. the savage winter still howling in southern minnesota, where the deadline to get your ice fishing house off the lakes is less than a week away. but with all the cold and snow of late, they may not be able to remove them in time. that push of late february brr brings the sub-freezing wind chills as far south as north texas and northern alabama. the thaw-freeze effect forcing ice jams from illinois to indiana and pennsylvania, bulldozing the swollen river's edge. >> chunks of ice out here are a foot thick. they're just destroying whatever they cross.
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>> reporter: there are wind chill advisories tonight through early tomorrow from montana to ohio, so, let's bring back that polar map and show you the wind chill in chicago, just one of the many cities that are concerned about the dangerous wind chill. by tomorrow morning, it will feel like 20 below in chicago. other cities like milwaukee, des moines, detroit, anyone surrounding the great lakes there, going to be very uncomfortable and close to dangerous. diane? >> all right, thank you so much, ginger zee, reporting in. and next tonight, we turn to the big surprises today in that culture war under way in arizona. the one that pits religious liberty against equal rights for gay americans. well, today, some big american companies warned the governor of the state, jan brewer, against signing that bill. in fact, even mitt romney weighed in, and not the way you might think. abc's cecilia vega tells us. reason. >> reporter: outrage at the state capital.
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as governor jan brewer faces her decision -- does she sign into law a bill allowing businesses, in the name of religious freedom, to refuse to serve gay people, or veto it? but major companies are pouncing, saying the law would create an unfriendly climate that's bad for business. joining the chorus, marriott hotels, tech giant apple, which has plans to open a 2,000-job high-tech plant in the state and american airlines, whose ceo wrote, "this bill sends the wrong message." mitt romney chimed in today, urging a veto. even the nfl weighed in. with next year's super bowl set to be played in arizona, the league says it supports tolerance and inclusiveness. >> it is discrimination couched behind the belief that i can hide behind my religious beliefs. >> reporter: the opposition has been loud, but from the backers of this bill, so far, we are hearing silence. we tried to find business owners who would go on the record in support of it. so far, we have not found one. but willing to talk, maya
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arneson of arizona's christian business networking. for her, this is about religious freedom. how is this any different than refusing service to someone because of the color of their skin? >> that would be a horrible thing. that's not what this bill is about. this bill is specifically about situations where people want to be able to have their belief systems respected. >> reporter: the governor has until saturday to act. cecilia vega, abc news, phoenix. and next now, we turn to the results of a special investigation. abc news teaming up with the center for investigative reporting, to address a kind of epidemic among american heroes, returning home, only to battle addiction to prescription drugs, and drugs provided by the very system meant to help them. it's part of our new series about america's fighting men and women. "coming home: america's promise." and abc's byron pitts has the story. >> these are probably the most difficult ones to look at. >> reporter: snapshots of a father, who, by his own admission, but anything but.
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decorated army veteran justin minyard, a bronze star in iraq. here, so stoned on prescription drugs, he can barely hold his 3-year-old daughter. the war hero turned addict. >> had everything going for me. and like a flash, that fast, you look up and it's gone. this was my family. >> reporter: he's not alone. according to the center for investigative reporting, at v.a. hospitals, the number of prescriptions for highly addictive painkillers surged 270% in the past 12 years a rate far above the increase in patients. in fact, more than 50,000 veterans were treated by the v.a. for painkiller addiction last year alone. >> my life revolved around one thing, when is my next pill? >> reporter: minyard's road to addiction started hours after 9/11. there he is -- part of the rescue effort outside the pentagon. he injured his back pulling a woman from the debris pile. more back problems, more
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prescription drugs when he fell off a helicopter in iraq. minyard says v.a. doctors kept prescribing more painkillers. soon, a full-blown addict, he tried to stop three times. >> it's a living, seemingly never-ending nightmare. i'm angry that there were better options, more effective ways to treat my pain. the priority was seemingly, treating me with whatever was the fastest, most inexpensive way. >> reporter: tonight, v.a. whistleblower dr. baslman khulsi speaks for the first time. she was a pain specialist at the v.a. hospital in kansas city. >> i saw what i saw and i had to do something about it. >> reporter: like other v.a. doctors around the country, she told us she saw an alarming trend. more and more patients addicted to painkillers. she tried to wean them off of them, but some of her patients came to her taking massive dozes, as much as 1,000 milligrams of morphine a
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day, ten times the level she considered safe. >> the veterans have their own set of issues. and then they are given narcotics generously, and that's increased an increased and increased and then we have a problem. >> reporter: you've used the word generous. it sounds like you want to say excessive. >> very excessive. if the patient continues to complain, give them more. if they continue to have pain, give them more. >> reporter: that doesn't sound like medicine. that sounds like enabling someone. >> this is the reason why the numbers continue to go up. >> reporter: today, we took these troubling numbers and stories to the veterans health administration. they told us they're announcing a program called the opioid safety initiative, using many of the same recommendations pain experts have been making for years. including drug-free alternatives, like acupuncture and yoga, which have had great success in treating pain. >> these are pretty new things. these are pretty new ideas. we owe it to them to find ways to treat their pain. and i'm here to say, we're working on that. >> reporter: there has been 12 years of evidence that american
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service members are being overprescribed pain medication. why hasn't change occurred quicker? >> we're addressing it as quickly as we can. this is an absolutely serious issue to the agency, to my fellow physicians and to me personally. >> reporter: because? >> because i treat patients in pain. and the ultimate goal for us as physicians, as an agency, as v.a., is to get our guys back on their feet. >> reporter: those recommendations come too late for veterans like justin minyard and the years with his daughter he lost to addiction. >> i just hope somebody else that's dealing with chronic pain hears this or sees this, and if they don't make the same mistakes i did, they can still read their daughter stories at night. >> reporter: all sides agree our veterans have paid a high price. their pain is real. and diane, the v.a. now insists they have found a new pain
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management plan they say works. >> but the numbers are staggering, byron. what evidence is there that it does work? >> reporter: well, diane, they point to the success of test sites. in minneapolis, for example, the v.a. says the use of highly addictive painkillers dropped by more than 50%. we'll see if the numbers hold up nationally. >> staying on the story, byron pitts. thank you, byron. and now, we turn to political news today, and an old pro making his move again. former president bill clinton blazing his way back onto the campaign trail. why? and what does it say about former secretary hillary clinton and the white house in 2016? abc's jeff zeleny spent the day watching the man a lot of people have called the big dog, back in action. >> reporter: bill clinton is back. >> look, i love kentucky. you've been good to me. >> reporter: plunging into one of the biggest political battles of the year. the effort to knock off the top republican in the senate, mitch mcconnell.
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dloin clinton says he's turned gridlock into an art form. >> when there's a problem, do everything you can to make sure the problem is never fixed. it may work in an election, get people all torn up, upset, everybody mad all the time. but it's a dumb way to run a country. >> reporter: in kentucky today, clinton was helping mcconnell's opponent, secretary of state alison lundergan grimes. she was a teenager when he was president. here she is, only 14, presenting roses to the clintons at their inauguration in 1993. surrounded by senators in washington, mcconnell brushed off clinton's visit. >> every time he's come, it's been really good for me. >> reporter: perhaps. but this year, bill clinton is his party's biggest draw. fueled by nostalgia for the past and a hope that hillary clinton runs for the white house. one person not mentioned today -- president obama. you didn't mention president obama even once in your speech today. why is president clinton such a bigger draw? >> well, for me, president clinton is a friend, a mentor and an adviser. >> reporter: we caught up with clinton and asked if democrats
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could maintain control of the senate. >> i think so. i do think so. they're going have to work for it, though. >> reporter: bill clinton in high demand, hoping to ride to the rescue. jeff zeleny, abc news, louisville, kentucky. and late today, we got some news that gave real hope in the fight against obesity in america. and it is led by children as young as 2 and as old as 5. news that obesity in that group has plummeted 43% in ten years. so, what has made the difference? and how much credit goes to first lady michelle obama and her let's move campaign, which began four years ago today? here's abc's linzie janis. >> reporter: four years after first lady michelle obama launched her let's move initiative to get kids to eat right and exercise -- ♪ move your body >> reporter: tonight, that stunning headline. new government numbers showing in 2004, 14% of 2 to 5-year-olds were obese.
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but by 2012, that number dropped to just 8%. the cdc is calling it the first significant decrease in the epidemic, and it is particularly important, since new evidence suggests that kids who are overweight at that age are more likely to be overweight as adults. experts point to a number of factors that may have contributed to the dramatic decline. kids are consuming fewer sugary drinks. more moms are breastfeeding. they also credit the first lady with raising awareness. lessons that may be starting to stick. linzie janis, abc news, new york. and also tonight, we are tackling sleeplessness in america. a simple solution for insomnia. how one woman is getting millions of people, finally, to fall asleep. no pills, no gadgets -- and it's free. how? we're back in two minutes. y kno? are you flo? yes. is this the thing you gave my husband? well, yeah, yes. the "name your price" tool.
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tonight, 23 million of us wonder if we're going to go to sleep or stay awake all night with insomnia. well, what if there was a simple way to drift off to sleep and for free? abc's linsey davis shows us the new sleep whisperers who say, they can change millions of lives. >> hey, guys. today, i have a new video for you. >> reporter: if just hearing her voice makes you suddenly have the strong desire to doze off -- >> a couple of sound requests. >> reporter: ilse blansert won't be offended. in fact, it's the response she wants. she is a sleep whisperer, one of an exploding community on the internet known as autonomous sensory meridian responders, or asmr. they tap, brush, pour and mostly whisper, all to lull people to sleep. >> makes really nice sounds. >> reporter: is it just a smoothing voice? is it a calming voice? >> it has to do with the combination of sounds and voices. i'm not convinced that it works,
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it actually works. >> reporter: her videos have generated nearly 16 million clicks. and hers are among the thousands of asmr options. one of ilse's followers is emily hansen, who says ilse's videos have changed her life. >> i could not sleep and i was just thinking about so many different things going on in my life. >> reporter: when hansen saw her first asmr video, she found it hard to keep her eyes open. >> it was one of the most euphoric experiences i've ever felt. i didn't know what it was but i was hooked. my brain relaxes so much that i just fall asleep. i mean, i just conk out. >> reporter: and that's with no pills, no side effects, no danger of addiction. >> it is quite believable to me that somebody says, this works better than a sleeping pill for me. >> reporter: in fact, khan says that asmr videos could be a good solution to insomnia. >> it brings me comfort that i can't find in other things. >> reporter: millions of people
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now relying on the internet's equivalent of counting sheep. linsey davis, abc news, new york. and when we come back, it is t-minus five days until hollywood's big night. so, can you guess which oscar speech came out on top of our oscar poll? was it halle? julia? jennifer? someone else? the envelope, please, in our "instant index." i have low testosterone. there, i said it. see, i knew testosterone could affect sex drive, but not energy or even my mood. that's when i talked with my doctor. he gave me some blood tests... showed it was low t. that's it. it was a number. [ male announcer ] today, men with low t have androgel 1.62% testosterone gel. the #1 prescribed topical testosterone replacement therapy increases testosterone when used daily. women and children should avoid contact with application sites. discontinue androgel and call your doctor if you see unexpected signs of early puberty in a child, or signs in a woman, which may include changes in body hair or a large increase in acne,
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our "instant index" tonight begins with a milestone for a made in america classic. does this take you back? ♪ nobody bakes a cake as tasty as a tastykake ♪ >> tastykake, makers of butterscotch krimpets and peanut butter candy cakes, actually debuted in philadelphia 100 years ago today. and last night, we told you about the big change coming to moviefone. after 25 years, the telephone hotline calling it quits. but we heard from the people at moviefone and they want to make
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sure you know, and so do we, that their service continues online through an app you can download on your phone. and the countdown to hollywood's biggest night is on. so, we asked all of you, what is the greatest oscar acceptance speech of all, ever, ever? number three, there, cuba gooding, that jump of joy. number two, halle berry. her emotional tribute. >> this moment is for dorothy dandridge, lena horne, diahann carroll. >> and number one, the envelope, please? >> and i can't deny the fact that you like me. right now, you like me! >> sally field, 1985. a lot of people made fun of that speech back then, but it became the speech closest to our hearts. good for her. and weigh in on our website. you can watch all the hollywood magic right here, the 86th
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annual oscars, live sunday on abc. and up next tonight, marathon dance party, 700 college students rocking around the clock and then around the clock again, three days, nonstop. how did they do it? you'll hear why. it's "america strong." [ male announcer ] this one goes out to all the congestion sufferers who feel like there's a brick on their face. who are so congested, it feels like the walls are closing in. ♪ who are so stuffed up, they feel like they're under water. try zyrtec-d® to powerfully clear your blocked nose and relieve your other allergy symptoms... so you can breathe easier all day. zyrtec-d®. find it at the pharmacy counter. zyrtec-d®. this is a map of the pressure points on my feet. i have flat feet. i learned where the stress was
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and finally tonight, would you dance until you dropped for 46 hours, and could you do it to celebrate life? watch now, as 700 students at penn state defy exhaustion and sore feet, to use their energy to light a fire for other kids who need it. abc's sara haines and the students who are "america strong." >> don't let that silly hat fool you. >> i'm ready. >> reporter: allison and ryan are preparing for a marathon. you're stretching a little bit? >> yeah. just trying to stretch out, because this is the last time that we're going to sit -- for awhile. >> reporter: 46 hours, no sleep, no sitting, no coffee. just dancing. this is penn state thon. america's biggest college dance
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marathon. more than 700 dancers shaking, shimmying, strutting their stuff. all to help kids like 13-year-old brittany wagner. brittany has cancer. money raised here will help pay for her family's medical costs. after 24 hours -- >> can't even move my feet. >> reporter: almost 36 hours in, allison's legs are swollen. she's losing her voice, but -- >> it's not really about us. it's about fighting cancer. >> reporter: and 44 hours in, nearly two days after their dance began -- allison and ryan are barely hanging on. >> i mean -- i'm tired. and i am in pain. >> three, two, one -- >> reporter: and then, it's over. mission accomplished. $13 million raised and perhaps, more importantly -- >> so happy! >> reporter: brittany is beaming. >> i love you.
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>> don't ever underestimate the effect you can have on a child's life. >> reporter: dancing with your feet and your heart -- that is "america strong." sara haines, abc news, state college, pennsylvania. >> and we celebrate them all and we thank you for watching. we're always here at abcnews.com. "nightline" later. see you right back here again tomorrow night. good night. tonight a former san francisco supervisor caught red handed now fighting a return to jail. >> asiana grass results in a fine. tonight one family's poor treatment by the air lynn. >> a memorial to two fallen officers in santa cruz. tonight the squabble tied up the
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money the town raised for opening day. >> caltrans responds to a problem with the new bay bridge. almost a third of the bolts are leaking. >> three teenagers died when the plane crashed at sfo last year. tonight tonight the airline is responding to an unprecedented fine on how it treated families. >> the department of transportation never issued this fine before. half a million dollars for failing to help the families of those when made it out that have plane alive last july. we are live to explain what the airlines did wrong after the crash.>> the airline know what should do following a crash. this plan has been in place since 1996.
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asiana airlines did not follow the rules according to the claim a cord together department of transportation it took up to five days to contact family members following this crash. a clear violation of the family assistance plan. michael verna was the first attorney to file suit against the airline. my client had in idea whether or not the family member lived or died. >> asiana never publicized or provided staff to take calls from families of passengers of the cars and failed to commit resources to carry out family assistance plan. this daughter of a vur viefor spoke from her moem in vegas oochl their response is talk to our lawyers and hung up on us. >> we recognized your lives were changed.

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